TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index lost ground Wednesday while U.S. stock markets hit new records with the Dow Jones sailing past the 23,000 mark.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 160.16 points to 23,157.60. The S&P 500 index added 1.90 points to 2,561.26 and the Nasdaq composite index eked out 0.56 of point to 6,624.22.“In the last few weeks, or more recently, U.S. equity markets are climbing higher obviously on renewed hope for tax reform in the U.S. and strong economic tailwinds as well,” said Candice Bangsund, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.Technology stocks and financial companies led gainers on Wall Street as investors weighed the latest batch of company earning news. IBM surged on strong quarterly results and is on track to post its biggest one-day gain since 2009.North of the border, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 34.74 points to 15,782.16, with base metals, gold, materials and energy leading key decliners.“The Canadian equity market is really a play not on the domestic economy but on global growth — so commodities, higher interest rates,” said Bangsund.“Between commodities and financials you’ve got two-thirds of the benchmark right there. In our view the TSX is going to catch up to the U.S. equity market, particularly if commodity prices rise and interest rates continue to rise as we expect.”In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 80.09 cents US, up 0.40 of a cent — its first upward movement in three consecutive trading sessions.Bangsund attributed the loonie’s strengthening to Tuesday’s announcement that NAFTA talks are being extended into 2018 from its year-end deadline after tensions at the negotiating table exploded into public view.“That’s caused a little bit of relief, particularly on the currency side,” she said. “I think that the markets are interpreting that the threat of an imminent collapse in the agreement or dismantling of NAFTA altogether has been diffused.”In commodities news, the December crude contract was up 15 cents to US$52.26 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down 11 cents at US$2.85 per mmBTU.The December gold contract was down US$3.20 to US$1,283.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was down two cents to US$3.18 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
THE MAN AND woman discovered dead at a premises in Carlow yesterday have been named by Gardaí as 53-year-old John Deegan from Cadamstown, Birr, Co Offaly and 51-year-old Deirdre Keenan of Carragh Road, Naas, Co Kildare.A post mortem examination carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, confirmed that both of the deceased died as a result of gunshot wounds.Gardaí believe the couple travelled in the Wexford area on Wednesday and Thursday, 20 and 21 February, and would like to hear from anyone who may have had contact with them during that time.Gardai are appealing to anyone who was in the area of Centaur Street in Carlow between 10pm and 1pm on Monday 25 February who may have seen anything unusual to contact Carlow Garda Station on 059 – 9136620, the Garda confidential line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.Read: Man and woman found in Carlow ‘died from gunshot wounds’